Spotlight: Peoplescapes

Artist Statement

My “Peoplescapes” are colorful and exaggerated narratives about the condition of today’s world. Our culture is designed to ignore certain fundamental truths, causing great obstacles to our continuing existence. Addressing these issues by capturing moments of ordinary life confronting us all, while sharply observing and commenting, I’m able to shine a light on these subjects and, hopefully, contribute to the fabric of history.

CNN—The costume party rages on as tanks come over the bridge. The crowd is sprinkled with those prepared for the carnival of war.

No Free Lunch—Near future of air travel: advertisements blare overhead while attendant sells oxygen, toilet paper, and water to the likes of Bernie Madoff.

The Ref—Ringside, Don King, the Koch Brothers, international environmentalists: Chico Mendes, Wangari Maathai, Edward Abbey, and Aldo Leopold watch the earth being beaten by humans.

Good Life—Guests luxuriate with drilling rig nearby; oil-slicked swimmer emerges on deck.

Check, Please—Iconic symbols of Good and Evil play chess; while Evil defies the rules, Good is still winning.

American Dream—A weepy John Boehner clubs the people, releasing their hard-earned cash into the manipulative wheel of political power, religion, and greed.

Amnesty—Encircled by ICE fences, the diverse crop of citizenship-seekers wait patiently at the immigration office.

Still Wading—Betty Friedan points womankind to its destiny across the bridge of control. The Triple Goddess (symbol of female lifecycles), Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Benazir Bhutto (slaughtered) are presented before the world stage.

Nancy Calef

For twenty-six years, Nancy Calef has been creating Peoplescapes, oil paintings, often in 3D, with sculpture and applied objects on canvas, addressing cultural, political, and spiritual issues facing society. Calef weaves together stories about contemporary life, rich with details, symbolism, and humor. She is the author of Peoplescapes—My Story From Purging To Painting, an illustrated memoir (Babu Books, 2014). Calef is also a singer-songwriter. Born in Bronx, NY, Calef majored in art at the College of New Rochelle; she has since lived in Europe and Thailand, travelled throughout the U.S., Mexico, Central America, Southeast Asia, India and Nepal, all serving to develop her unique style. She currently resides in San Francisco with her husband, author and attorney Jody Weiner.